STPs must “encourage” long term NHS “partnerships” with the private sector

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS - article of 10th November 2016, updated on 9th March 2017 for the Budget announcements.


Far from the Sustainability and Transformation Plans marking the government’s shift away from NHS marketisation and privatisation – as some are mistakenly claiming – the opposite is true!

Since the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review that created the Sustainability and Transformation Fund, both the government and its quango NHS England have explicitly linked the Sustainability and Transformation Plans to the requirement to “encourage” increased private sector involvement in the NHS.

Update 9 March 2017

Behind the derisory £325m STP funding in Hammond’s Spring Budget (for a few “most advanced” STPs)  is the plan for 50% of STP funding to be sourced from private companies via Local Economic Partnerships by 2020 – please see section below: “Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships”

Some key aspects of STPs’ mandatory “encouragement” of long term NHS “partnerships” with the private sector include

  • Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships.
  • The abandonment of  “old-style contracting” and the  imposition of private company-friendly contracting.
  • Embedding digital technology in STPs.

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Virgin Health suing NHS for contractual rights

Today's (13th March 2017) HSJ headline:

"Virgin Care starts legal proceedings against NHS: Virgin has launched legal proceedings against eight NHS commissioners after losing a bid for a £82m children’s community services contract"

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The view from the ‘burning platform’ - Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1439 10th March 2017


Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has the gall to repeat the lie that the NHS is not for sale.

ACCORDING to Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, the NHS stands on a “burning platform” with 11 percent of trusts rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and 70 percent requiring improvement. Understaffing and overcrowding put patients and staff at risk every day.

Meanwhile, private providers lead by Virgin Care are busy “conquering the community care space”, says HealthInvestor magazine. “A market worth around £10bn has suddenly become a private affair.” Virgin has already hoovered up more than 400 health, social care and local authority services’ contracts, worth more than £1bn. It’s “quite the portfolio”, according to HealthInvestor, and other companies are lining up to conquer what’s left. “The chance to drink in a £9bn pool is tantalising.”

There is a clear underfunding and privatising trend in NHS and local authority services. Between April 2013 and April 2016, 45 percent of the community health services that were put out to tender went to non-NHS providers.

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Press coverage of the Health Campaigns Together demo of 4th March 2017 in central London

The Metro;  the Daily Mail; BBC news on line;  the Guardian;  the Mirror.

Funnily enough there is no report in the Daily Telegraph, but they have instead decided to cover a story about "fat cats" in the NHS - shame that they haven't noticed the fattest cats of them all, including Dr Tracey Batten who earns £100K more than the ones the Daily Telegraph has collared.

Video clips by SOH's video journalist and editor:

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